I lunged across the bed in a frantic search for my phone that was screaming at me from the other side of the room. I had dozed off for a second, an hour at most, but somehow it’s morning and I’m still here, half-naked, in this hotel room that I was supposed to be far away from by now. I chased the melody over to the small pile of clothing discarded near the bathroom door and silenced the repetitive tune. The time indicated by Weekday Alarm #1 was 7:30 and that meant either, I had discovered a cure for heartbreak-induced insomnia in the form of great, great sex or that it wasn’t morning at all and I was still asleep, stuck in some kind of weird dream where I was just, well… half-naked in this hotel room… following earth-shattering sex. I threw on my clothes and grabbed my keys — dreaming or not, I still needed to get home and ready for work, preferably before Weekday Alarm #2 sounded off.
With only minutes to spare, I bolted towards the door like my freedom depended on it — my feet moving so fast you would think my alarm was a vicious hunter and that I was its high-priced bounty. I was almost there too, like a half a step away, when it hit me.
Amir was gone.
Like, gone, gone.
I hadn’t noticed it before, with the whole disorientation of waking up in strange places and everything, but now that I’m a little more lucid, I can see that he’s not here. I spun around and looked over the room that seemed so different from last night. His spot, where I last saw him laying as I drifted off to sleep was empty and his clothes, which were tossed right next to mine as we made our way to the bed, were nowhere in sight.
I slumped against the nightstand, my stomach in a familiar state of turmoil, as I came to terms with the fallout of yet another bad decision. I should’ve known it would end like this. That he would just up and leave without saying anything. That he wouldn’t even bother giving me a goodbye or a promise to call later– and not because I want him to– but I mean, just like… out of principle and good manners and stuff, but he didn’t ‘cause this is what they always do. Men. They really not sh–
Before I could finish that thought, the door swung open and the man that I was just about to condemn to a life sentence on my block list, was standing right across from me. He closed the door behind him, a little smirk appearing across his lips when I tried to conceal the disappointment that I’m positive was written all over my face.
I really need to work on that.
His eyes roamed over my body, which was covered in way more than it was when he left, before dropping down to the keys gripped tightly in my fist.
“I didn’t take you for the sneaking out type.” He walked over to the nightstand, settling his body right in between my thighs.
So maybe he didn’t leave — yet — but he was probably about to and just forgot something in the room that he had no choice but to come back and get.
“I’m not sneaking out.” I rolled my eyes at his accusation. “But if I remember correctly, and I do.” I pushed a finger into his chest. “You were the one that was gone when I got up.”
He hid his guilt behind a sly grin as he tried to slither his way out of the dog house. “If the parking lot’s what you call gone, then I guess I was.” He ran a finger down my chest. “But I wasn’t doing nothing like what you was about to do.”
I glared at him with the dirtiest of dirty looks. He was lying. I knew it and he knew I knew it too — but still, he didn’t back down, not even a little. Instead, he met my stare with a look that was just as deadly and before I knew it, we were head-to-head in a contentious staredown, one that lasted… all of twenty seconds before we ended up lip-locked, nearly naked on the bed — again.
It happened so fast too, I don’t even remember how we got there. It’s like we went from staring to touching to kissing without saying anything and our bodies, who seem to have minds of their own, did what they wanted to do. We were seconds away from an encore of last night’s performance, with our tops on the floor and our bottoms following close behind, when my obnoxious ass alarm crashed the stage and dragged me kicking and screaming, away from his grasp and back into reality.
“Shit!” I jumped to my feet and quickly collected my things from the floor. “I gotta go.”
He pulled up his jeans and chased me across the room. “Hold up– What’s wrong?”
There was confusion in his voice and with the way I practically threw both of us off the bed just now, I’m pretty sure he thought he did something wrong but I didn’t have time to explain anything to him. I had to go, like an hour ago, because if Weekday Alarm #3 caught up with me, I’ll be trading in my mailroom badge for a number in the unemployment office.
“Nothing.” I brushed aside his concern. “I just have somewhere to be.”
I made it to the door, my hand on the doorknob, steps away from finally making my exit when I once again, realized something — my keys were missing.
I shook my pockets and checked the floor near my feet but there was no sign of them.
I turned to him for help, in desperate hopes of making my deadline. “Have you seen my keys?”
To my relief, he retrieved them from a little corner of the nightstand and held them over my eagerly awaiting hand. My grateful smile vanished though when he didn’t immediately give them to me. Instead, he let them hang loosely from his fingers as he worked on securing our next ‘date’. “So when you think I could see you again?”
And with that question, I was right back where I started, stranded in the murky waters of uncertainty surrounding what we are or what we could be. I mean, last night was fun, and so was the night before and as much I would love to do all the things we did again and again and again — Jesminder was right. I’m not ready to jump into anything else, not right now anyway, not with all the old shit that’s still tethered to my life.
“Okay, look.” I wrapped my arms tight as I searched for the right words to put a permanent end to whatever this is. “I don’t… want a… boyfriend or anything right now.”
He chuckled as if the idea of being someone’s boyfriend was a foreign concept to him. “And I don’t want a girlfriend.”
But he clearly wanted something and given how all of our interactions have ended in the exact same manner, I already knew what that something was but I played along anyway.
“So what do you want then?”
He caressed the back of my hand, his voice much lower than before. “You. All the time. In all the ways I had you last night.”
And with those words, a kaleidoscope of frenzied butterflies released into the pit of my stomach — a sensation that was so powerful it caused momentary memory loss surrounding all things related to Jesminder’s advice. What I was able to remember though, was some things Cassandra said yesterday and I think she made a lot of good points. Like, the thing about me not having to marry him or have kids with him, that kind of stuff. We could just keep things the way they are now — just casual, mind-blowing sex — completely unattached from commitments or expectations or most importantly feelings. This way, I could still figure my stuff out without completely denying all of my needs.
I could do this.
I nodded and that sealed our unspoken arrangement so with our next ‘date’ on the calendar and my keys back in my hand, I finally made my way home.
It was still the early hours of the morning so making it into my apartment without drawing the attention of a certain opinionated friend should’ve been easy but as luck would have it, she and Kaelyn were out on their balcony watering their assortment of plants, right above the only available space in the entire parking lot, and spotted me almost immediately.
“Heeeey Tami-luh!” Kaelyn waved at me through the thin metal bars.
“Hey Kaelyn.” I waved back. “Are you taking good care of the plants?”
She lifted her little watering can high above her head. “Yeah! I put water in ‘dem!”
“Good job.” I smiled.
She’s so cute.
As she went back to overwatering that poor plant in the corner, I slowly turned to Jesminder, who seemed to be waiting for my attention so she could judge me to my face.
She was leaning over the banister, her expression, full of disapproval. “I see you took Cass’ advice.”
I looked down at my outfit, my shoes and morning makeup, was a dead giveaway. “Kind of…”
“The one from the bar?”
“Yeah, but look–” I attempted to outline my plan for fixing my issues, minus the chastity belt, but she wasn’t trying to hear it.
“You don’t have to explain nothing to me.” She went back to working on her plants. “Just make sure you know what you’re doing.”
Her tone was full of all kinds of implications and warnings and buzzkills but it’s fine because I do know what I’m doing and I am going to have a great day because of it.
At least, I was planning to have a great day until I got to my apartment and read the notice that was taped on my door.
“I’m being evicted?!”